- The PlayStation 5 has been on the market for almost three years now but its exclusive library is still rather dry, with a few titles available on the PS4.
- Despite having a rough start, the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 had an extensive library of exclusives within the same period of three years.
- To me, the current generation appears to be focusing on everything other than making actual games that utilize the full power of modern hardware while having the best interest of consumers in mind.
On June 12, 2020, we were introduced to the next generation of Sony’s home console—PlayStation 5. Everybody knows technology advances at a rapid rate and hardware keeps getting stronger. It’s the same with PS5, being more powerful than its predecessor and harboring greater potential as well. Along with the tech advancements, the launch of this console happened smack in the middle of a global pandemic.
Consumer anticipation and expectation are relatively high whenever a new generation is around the corner. After all, they spent over half a decade with a piece of hardware and they want to know where things will go next. With stronger hardware, improved technology, and newer ways to craft engaging worlds and experiences, who wouldn’t be excited about that?
This November, we’ll be three years into the lifecycle of the PlayStation 5, and while many have talked and made memes about the lack of exclusive games on the console, it’s time we took a proper look at the state of this console along with the generation as a whole. A generation that was not only impacted by the pandemic but also appears to be rather stale when you look at the bigger picture.
The PlayStation 5 is a fantastic piece of hardware, but there’s a reason why this exclusive drought hits hard. Especially when you compare it to its predecessors.
The Exclusive Desert Of PlayStation 5
To reiterate, it’s been almost three years since the launch of Sony‘s ninth-generation home console. Even after all this time, I can count the number of exclusive titles we have on the PlayStation 5 on one hand. When people read something like this online, they start chanting Xbox or whatever else they support. But this is not about taking sides. It’s about how I, and many other people like me, feel as consumers.
I can’t speak for everyone but I know some people personally and have seen others online, who have echoed this sentiment. In all honesty, even after all this time, the PlayStation 5 exclusives library is barren and desolated. As of now, we have the remake of Demon’s Souls, a timed exclusive in the form of Final Fantasy 16, and Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 coming out in October 2023.
If you’re one of those people who want to ask why Astro’s Playroom isn’t there, first I want you to think about whether you’re still playing it in 2023, how often you’re playing it, and would you play it over any other exclusive. It’s a tech demo, a fantastic one at that, but that’s all it is. Now you might want to hurry and point out that we have Wolverine, Stellar Blade, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, and Rise of the Rōnin in the works, and yes we do.
But frankly speaking, we have the bare minimum amount of information on Wolverine. Given that the title was stated to be in early development, and with Insomniac Games focusing on Spider-Man 2, Wolverine will most likely come out sometime in 2025. That’s approximately five years into the lifecycle of PlayStation 5. Then there’s the second part of Final Fantasy 7‘s remake project.
Rebirth may be on track for release but it’s not coming out until 2024. The official website states “early” but that’s still two to three months which is almost an entire year. The way this project is being handled isn’t appealing to me as a consumer and a fan of Final Fantasy 7. Remake was announced in 2015 after years of rumors and speculation and then it launched five years later, in 2020.
The second part is coming out four years after part one and given this pace combined with the duration of a console generation, the final part will most likely be cross-gen between PS6 and PlayStation 5. I’ll go further and say it’ll be a launch title for that console. So as a consumer, I’m being made to wait almost an entire decade just to see one story to its completion. Reimagining the original FF7 is great and all, but this is just absurd.
Rise of the Rōnin is slated for a 2024 release as well and while it’s a bit late into the life of PlayStation 5, at least it’s coming out. Then there’s Stellar Blade. After being given a 2023 release window, the title’s been radio silent and we are halfway through the year. I don’t understand what’s wrong with these Asian games and developers. I say Asian but it’s mainly Chinese and Korean projects.
They show a few clips of their game here and there and then it’s all quiet. Lost Soul Aside started as a passion project by one person and that was impressive. However, it was scouted by Sony and the developer was offered resources for the project’s development. Seven years since 2016, and all we have is an in-depth look at gameplay but whatever happened to a release window? Same thing with Black Myth: Wukong.
On one hand, it’s either a single individual or a small team making a huge project which justifies the long dev time. But on the other hand, the rate at which development information is shared is simply horrendous. Aside from LSA and Wukong, most of these other titles show clips with seductive females, and the way they present the physics is by focusing on their proportions to captivate the audience.
I’m not a hater of impressive characters, visuals, & whatnot since that’s one way to use the power of PlayStation 5 and other modern hardware but the way these projects are handled makes me lose interest in them instead of having my excitement dialed to eleven.
And after all that, VR games just aren’t on the level I expected them to be after all this time. This goes for the ones on PlayStation VR & VR2 as well. They’re nice but the full potential of VR gaming is far from realized.
The Predecessors Had It Better
It’s no secret that the PlayStation 3 suffered a disappointing launch. Violence reports aside, the hardware had a preposterous price tag and launched a bit after the Xbox 360 while also lacking a variety of quality games. At least the PlayStation 5 shares some form of similarity in this case. Despite being late to the party and a pain to make games for, the PS3 gained momentum within the first three years and its library of exclusives grew.
The PlayStation 4 followed suit and even though the first year of its launch proved to be more of a “definitive edition” phase, the line-up of exclusive games was fairly solid three years into its life. By the end of 2016, we had Infamous Second Son & First Light, The Last Guardian, Uncharted 4, Killzone: Shadow Fall, Bloodborne, Ratchet and Clank, & Until Dawn. And as years passed, more were added to that list.
Compared to how the PS3 and PS4 rose in the content department, the PlayStation 5 has been a bit of a disappointment. People are quick to chalk it up to the pandemic and chip shortage but at the end of the day, the latter impacting the existence of content, etc was all an assumption. The only factor that could have had an impact was the transition to work-from-home but that would lead to project delays, not a lack of games.
You can argue that we got God of War Ragnarok and Horizon Forbidden West. But those were cross-gen releases and that alone had to have affected the product considering Mark Cerny’s statements about HDDs being a hindrance for the devs. The way I see it, a powerful piece of hardware is seemingly rotting away without its power being fully harnessed.
It may not be all doom and gloom once the next three years start to unfold, but from what I’ve seen till now, it’s not impressive. My perspective leads me to see the PlayStation 5 as a purchase of $499 on which I can only play Marvel’s Spider-Man 2. That’s what I believe as a consumer. At this point, the line between exclusivity, and whatever its opposite is, is so blurred that I can’t even define it anymore.
Final Fantasy 16 is a timed exclusive and will arrive on PC in like a year or so. The same goes for FF7 Rebirth and all future games of that nature. Once the duration these companies settle on is up, the titles will be ported over. In the case of PlayStation exclusives, they’re going to be launched on PC in two to three years. If you want to play them right away, get a PlayStation 5. That’s all it is.
While I appreciate & support the direction the industry has taken and seeing these exclusive games being accessible to more gamers, having to run logic simulations in my head and weighing the significance of a PlayStation 5 against simply having patience is an unnecessary exercise. And having games on PC does give you an edge with all of the mods and performance features.
The Next Phase Of PlayStation 5
Earlier this year, we got our first PlayStation showcase event since 2021 and while some people believe it was fantastic, considering all the hype around it and how long it had been since the last event, the presentation felt like a glorified State of Play rather than a show of what’s next “only on PlayStation 5.” The only two high-profile announcements were Metal Gear Solid Delta: Snake Eater & Spider-Man 2 and they carried the show.
Sony’s also working on a handheld device for remote play, internally known as Project Q, that allows you to stream any game from your PlayStation 5. Gaming on the go is something I fully stand behind. The upcoming accessory shows promise despite not being a portable console. While this may be a drawback, I’m assuming the device will act as one if there’s a PS5 and an internet connection in your vicinity.
The idea alone is impressive and it’s great that the device will have all the features of the DualSense controller. But at the end of the day, this is what’s being worked on. To quote Jim Ryan, “At PlayStation, innovation is our passion. And that applies to not just what games you play but how you play them.” That’s all well and good but ultimately, content is king. Those earbuds are pretty cool though.
To me, this generation feels like it’s focusing more on technology and hardware, subscription services, and live service games. Sony is investing $2.1 billion in its research on gaming and seeks to invest heavily in the live service department, VR gaming, and subscription services. This news, combined with how Microsoft is handling its gaming camp just solidifies the views I have about this generation.
Much of my gripe when it comes to the current generation, PlayStation 5 in particular, is the reason that justifies having the console. If the majority of the games on your latest console are offerings from its predecessor and the new ones are available on it too, why then should I willingly drop $500 on your device to play one game? It comes down to how a consumer gauges a product and justifies its value inside their head.
I’m not blind to the potential of this console and its promising future but until that future comes to pass, I’m good with my PlayStation 4 and PC. It is all about perspective and that will differ from person to person but as I’ve always said, even in the most subjective territories, one can find some objectivity.
At this point in time, the PlayStation 5 doesn’t have an impressive library of exclusives, something that the brand has always been known for. I feel as if this console will end up being an extremely late bloomer considering everything that’s in the works but that’s just my perspective and opinion.
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